|by Nick Charney|
What follows is a guest post by Janine McGruddy a public servant from New Zealand who recently started a network for civil servants called Wellington Spring.
Hello Canadian public servants! Greetings from the New Zealand public service, where we are discovering we have more in common with you than we thought (and we already thought fondly of you as the Kiwis of the Northern Hemisphere). It all started during one of those “corridor conversations” (already sounding familiar?) when a few of us decided it was time to stop talking and start taking action to get the public service we want, and feel the New Zealand public deserves. It seemed like a good idea to see what other public services around the world were doing (as we realised we were probably not alone in the issues we were facing) and safe to say our searching led us quickly to the virtual doorstep of the Canadian Public Service (or in particular the CPSR and GovLife websites). In fact Canada was pretty much the only place we could find public service activity on this.
We cannot thank you enough for leading the way on this – although we knew what we wanted to do it was pretty daunting, as we knew this was virgin territory for the New Zealand Public Service, and were not sure how we would be received. On approaching CSPR and GovLife about their experiences we had immediate warm and wonderful responses, offers of help and the assurance that taking the leap for them had been more positive than negative.
And so with that heart warming knowledge the Wellington Spring Network (WSN) was born in October this year as an informal network of progressive professional New Zealand public servants wanting to share innovative thinking and work collaboratively to find solutions to problems. We want to help the public service in New Zealand to break down silos and build stewardship from the grassroots. We were fortunate enough to be allowed to repost excellent material from both CSPR and GovLife to demonstrate the positive, but honest, style we wanted to achieve with our website.
We not only want to give voice to the concerns of the NZ public service, but perhaps more importantly, work to find possible solutions to them. As we create solutions we aim to share them with the leadership of the public service to ensure we are heard at the highest level. It is only early days for us but again the feedback has been for the most part very positive. We look forward to posting more of our own material on our website as we get responses from the New Zealand public service. We have even started a “Ministry of the Month” competition to try and find the pockets of excellence already in existence. As we continue to grow we know we do so with the comradeship of our fellow public servants in Canada, and that really does make a difference, so Kia kaha from the WSN.